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MacSkimming Programs

MacSkimming Outdoor Education Centre is a 425 acre outdoor classroom located in the east end of the City of Ottawa. Its primary focus is to provide curriculum-based experiences in natural science, geography, Canadian history, team-building and outdoor recreation to all students and community groups in natural biodiverse setting.

 A large portion of MacSkimming Centre is designated by Environment & Climate Change Canada as the Beckett’s Creek Migratory Bird Sanctuary.

Attention OCDSB grade 3 and 7 classes - your field trip is free!
"Please see program list below on which programs are free (ESA)"

To book a program at The MacSkimming Outdoor Education Centre, please follow these steps:

1. Phone our office (613 833-2080) for available dates.
2. Download, print and complete the Program Booking Request Form.

3. E-Mail the completed to ocdsboutdooredcentres@ocdsb.ca
4. Fax the completed form to 613 833-0770.

Click here for program fees.

Once your form is received, your tentative booking has been made. The booking will be secured once we have received your 25% nonrefundable deposit. P‚Äčlease be sure to carefully read the important notes on the Booking Request Form

When conditions permit, all Natural Science, Canadian History and Outdoor Skills programs will be done on snowshoes.


Kindergarten and Junior Kindergarten
Natural Science
This full day program includes a Forest Exploration and either a Wetland Exploration or Insect Study. Students will have the opportunity to use their senses to investigate through free explorations, focused exploration, guided animal dramatizations and forest games. Students will use their senses to explore and discover some of the amazing creatures and plants that live in various ecosystems at MacSkimming. This program is offered from September to November and April to June.

Grade 1 Programs
Natural Science - Characteristics and Needs of Living Things 
This full day program includes a Forest Exploration and either a Wetland Exploration or Insect Study. In each of these activities students will have the opportunity to discover some of the amazing creatures and plants that live in various ecosystems at MacSkimming, why they are important and how they manage to survive. Instructors will lead activities and explorations that will help students to understand key terms such as habitat, adaptation, life cycles, and others. The Characteristics and Needs of Living Things program is available in fall, winter and spring. The winter program will consist of an extended Forest Explore on snowshoes (if conditions permit).

Grade 2 Programs
Natural Science - Growth and Change in Animals
This full day program includes a Forest Exploration, and one of Wetland Exploration, and Insect Study. Through hands on activities and investigations, students will gain further understanding that animals have distinct characteristics, that they grow and change, and that there are similarities and differences between different kinds of animals. This extremely active program is available fall, winter and spring. The extended Forest Exploration winter program will be done on snowshoes (if conditions permit).

Grade 3 Programs
Natural Science - Growth and Change in Plants with Soils in the Environment  (ESA)
In this full day program, students explore and discover the world of plants and soils. Students will dig down to discover horizons, biotic and abiotic components of soil, to learn about decomposition and the importance of soil to an ecosystem. In the second half of the day, students will learn about plants - how they grow, their importance and the many ways their seeds travel. This program is available in fall and spring.

Canadian History - Life in Early Canada (ESA)
During this full-day program,  students will visit a one-room school house of the early 1900's; try their hand at log-cabin building; make their own pioneer toy; and use some antique tools such as yolks and ice tongs in their hands-on discovery of life as an early settler. In early Spring, a tour of the sugar bush is combined with the Life in Early Canada program. This program is available in fall, winter and spring.

 

Grade 4 Programs
Natural Science - Habitats and Communities
Habitats and Communities includes Predator Prey and one of Forest Explore, Wetland Exploration or Insect Studies. During the Predator and Prey simulation, students play the role of local forest animals trying to survive. Students are required to find food, water and shelter all the while avoiding predators who are also looking for a good meal. This extremely active program allows students the opportunity to better understand terms such as habitat, predator, prey, herbivore, omnivore, carnivore, food chain, and population. During a Forest Explore, Wetland Explore and Insect Study, students will be lead through MacSkimming's natural areas to learn about plants and animal interdependence on each other, human impact on natural areas, and key terms reinforced in Predator and Prey. Predator and Prey and Forest Explore are available fall, winter and spring; Insect Explore and Wetland Explore are available in early fall and late spring.

Outdoor Skills Level I
Students will learn and practice the basics of shelter building and navigation with the use of a map. A major component of this program will be team-work as activities are done in small groups, with everyone having specific responsibilities. This program is available in fall, winter and spring.

 

Grade 5 Programs

Outdoor Skills Level 1

Students will learn and practice the basics of shelter building and navigation with the use of a map. A major component of this program will be team-work as activities are done in small groups, with everyone having specific responsibilities. This program is available in fall, winter and spring.
 

Canadian History - First Contact in the New World
In this active program, students will be introduced to ways in which the early explorers influenced the First Nations of the (now) Ottawa area and vice-versa. Students will also be given the opportunity to further understand lifestyle and history of the Algonkin or Algonquin First Nations. An interactive Fur Trade simulation activity is part of this program and focuses  particularly on the First Nations role in Canadian history. Other activities include a guided hike (on snowshoes when conditions permit). This program is available fall, winter and spring.

 

 

Grade 6 Programs
Natural Science - Diversity of Living Things 
This full day program includes two of "Classify Me", "Forest Explore", "Wetland Exploration" and "Insect Studies". Classify Me is an active tree identification program in which students make their way around the forest (with maps) looking for specially marked trees. Once they find the trees, it is their job to use a dichotomous key to identify them. The grade 6 Forest Explore, Wetland Exploration and Insect Study focus on classification, biodiversity, interrelationships, vertebrate vs. invertebrates and invasive species. All three programs are highly active and interactive within the various ecosystems. Classify Me and Forest Explore are available in fall, winter and spring. Insect Studies and Wetland Exploration are available in fall and spring.

 

Outdoor Skills Level 2

Students will learn and practice some advanced fire-building techniques. They will also have the opportunity to learn and practice compass use through a series of navigation courses on the property. A major component of this program will be team-work as activities are done in small groups, with everyone having specific responsibilities. This program is available in fall, winter and spring

 

 

Grade 7 Programs 
Natural Science - Interactions within Ecosystems (ESA)

This program includes Predator and Prey and either a Forest Explore, Wetland Explore or Insect Study. We key on discovery and importance of biotic and abiotic elements of various ecosystems through guided exploration. The grade 7 Predator and Prey simulation focuses heavily on producers, consumers and decomposers in addition to food webs and populations. This program is available fall, winter and spring.


Outdoor Skills - Level 3

Students will learn and practice some advanced fire-building techniques. They will also have the opportunity to learn and practice compass use through the MacSkimming Maze. A major component of this program will be team- work as activities are done in small groups, with everyone having specific responsibilities. This program is available in fall, winter and spring

 

Cross-Country Skiing

This full day program starts with an introduction to classic style cross-country skiing in the morning. The afternoon will be spent skiing along our groomed trail system. Ski equipment is provided.

This program is recommended in February.

 

Canadian History - Fur Trader (ESA)

This trading simulation activity takes place in and around our Pioneer Village. Students will play the role of over-wintering voyageurs newly hired by the Northwest Company in the early 1800's. They will re-enact history by trading with local Aboriginal peoples for furs in order to purchase supplies at Fort William for the long journey home to Montreal. The Fur Trade program also includes a guided hike that focuses on traditional uses of the land for medicine and food. This program is available in fall, winter and spring.

 

Team Building

This full-day program is designed to develop self-confidence, self-esteem, group skills and friendships. Specially trained staff may use our Intiatives elements to emphasize respect, trust, cooperation and support for others. This program is available in fall and spring.

Special ratio: 1 Centre Instructor to 15 students

 

 

Grade 8 Programs

Outdoor Skills - Level 3

Students will learn and practice some advanced fire-building techniques. They will also have the opportunity to learn and practice compass use through the MacSkimming Maze. A major component of this program will be team- work as activities are done in small groups, with everyone having specific responsibilities. This program is available in fall, winter and spring

 

Cross-country Skiing

This full day program starts with an introduction to classic style cross-country skiing in the morning. The afternoon will be spent skiing along our groomed trail system. Ski equipment is provided.

This program is recommended in February.

 

Team Building

This full-day program is designed to develop self-confidence, self-esteem, group skills and friendships. Specially trained staff may use our Initiatives elements to emphasize respect, trust, cooperation and support for others. This program is available in fall and spring.

Special ratio: 1 Centre Instructor to 15 students

 

 

Grade 9 Programs

Natural Science - The Sustainability of Ecosystems

This full day program includes Ecological Field Studies and Predator and Prey. It will introduce students to scientific data collection techniques in the field and allow them to discover through hands-on experience the diversities of life in a forest. The grade 9 Predator and Prey simulation provides students with opportunity for further understand bioaccumulation, biomass, community and human threats to local ecosystems. This program is available fall, winter and spring.

 
Geography - Methods of Geographic Inquiry

Students will learn how to use a map, compass and GPS effectively. They will learn to take bearings with each technology and through a variety of activities will travel the forest trails and put their new skills to use. This program is available in fall and spring.


Outdoor Skills - Level 3

Students will learn and practice Students will learn and practice some advanced fire-building techniques. They will also have the opportunity to learn and practice compass use through the MacSkimming Maze. A major component of this program will be team- work as activities are done in small groups, with everyone having specific responsibilities. This program is available in fall, winter and spring

 

Cross-country Skiing

This full day program starts with an introduction to classic style cross-country skiing in the morning. The afternoon will be spent skiing along our groomed trail system. Ski equipment is provided.

This program is recommended in February.

 

Team Building

This full-day program is designed to develop self-confidence, self-esteem, group skills and friendships. Specially trained staff may use our Initiatives elements to emphasize respect, trust, cooperation and support for others. This program is available in fall and spring.

Special ratio: 1 Centre Instructor to 15 students.

 

 

Grade 10, 11, 12 Programs

Outdoor Skills - Level 3

Students will learn and practice some advanced fire-building techniques. They will also have the opportunity to learn and practice compass use through the MacSkimming Maze. A major component of this program will be team- work as activities are done in small groups, with everyone having specific responsibilities. This program is available in fall, winter and spring

 

Cross-country Skiing

This full day program starts with an introduction to classic style cross-country skiing in the morning. The afternoon will be spent skiing along our groomed trail system. Ski equipment is provided.

This program is recommended in February.

 

Team Building
This full-day program is designed to develop self-confidence, self-esteem, group skills and friendships. Specially trained staff may use our Initiatives elements to emphasize respect, trust, cooperation and support for others. This program is available in fall and spring.
Special ratio: 1 Centre Instructor to 15 students.

 

 

Contact Us

Address: 

3635 Highway 174
Ottawa, ON
K4C 1G9 

Program Fees

OCDSB Classes
Junior and Senior Kindergarten: $180 per class of up to 30 students per day

Grades# 1, 2, 3: $175 per class of up to 25 students per day

Grades# 4+: $200 per class of up to 30 students per day
*Team building special ratio program rates: $180 per group of up to 15 students per day.

Non-OCDSB Classes
Grades JK-12: $255 per class of up to 30 students per day

*Team building special ratio program rates: $255 per group of up to 15 students per day

Overnight Rates (OCDSB and non-OCDSB Classes)
$200 per Field Centre per night.

Please see Facilities and Rentals page for Field Centre descriptions and, contact our office to discuss which overnight accommodations are best for your group.

The "Every Student Attends" program for OCDSB Grade 3 and 7 classes is still scheduled for the 2017-2018 school year!

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